The Lead is a weekly micro-mag: a lean, mean site on politics, culture, and everything in between, dedicated to bringing campaigning back into journalism. In our first few months of existence we've published some 70 stories, covering the boating barrister who saved a London river, the trapdoor built into the UK's housing market and why leaseholds should not exist; how the UK immigration obsession looks like from Albania; why Tories who say their own constituents have it worse than detained migrants may be right (but it's not the winning argument they seem to think it is); a survival guide for those of us pushed into poverty by the cost of living; a fantastic tofu recipe (looking at you, Suella); and an exploration of Bali's gargantuan spiritual-industrial complex, because why not.
In 2023 we want to take it all a step further: more stories, more essays, but also investigations, and most importantly - campaigns. We've been around journalism too long to think that merely telling a story changes much. Most failures have architects - whether political or corporate or both - and with your help, we hope to begin holding them to account. If you've enjoyed our work so far, consider buying us a mince pie this Christmas. And if you want to learn more about what animates our work, continue reading below.
Dimi, Natalie and Leah.
Why are we here? Well, short answer is we got together to cover the sharp angles that define our life in the UK today: poverty, racism, climate change, corporate and government malfeasance, the breakdown of our healthcare system and the fracturing of the state.
So far, so worthy. Most decent media aspires to do the same. But our aim is not just to inform: it’s to restore agency. We have launched in September 2022 - a period of simmering discontent, cascading economic crises, a swelling environmental emergency and deep political stagnation. We’re all bombarded by bad news pretty much everywhere we look, and each of us takes part, actively or passively, in the disconsolate social media hum that this news produces.
The more these crises grow, the less in control we feel. 99 percent of us weren’t allowed a say in electing our previous prime minister, and 0% of us were given a vote in choosing the one after that. Our economy is being wrecked, but our right to protest is being legislated away. Even our right to boycott products is called into question, and as for the freedom of speech — you’ve all seen what happened to even the most polite of protesters against the monarchy. Real-life dissent is being stifled — and online outrage without a path to action amounts to little more than static.
Our aim here at The Lead is to convert this static into energy. We’ll lean hard into organising open letters, campaigns and, while it’s still legal, direct action. We won’t have a comment section — if we've got something to say, we might as well go out and do something. We’ll do our best to keep you up to speed with actions and the motivations behind them — irrespective of who you vote for, if you vote at all.Faced with the prospect of another decade of Tory rule, we can’t afford to be territorial or precious.
Alongside all this we are covering the stuff worth living for: things to read, things to see, things to listen to and watch, things to eat and feel. As we grow, we’ll host events to scratch all these itches (sign up below to find out first). Focusing only on the fight is the road to burnout: we’re here for the long run to debate, agitate and celebrate. Or, as a late, great friend once said “theorise, mobilise, moisturise”. We hope that you join us.